Title: Once a Slayer, Now an Immortal

Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy: the Vampire Slayer or Highlander. I am merely borrowing them.

A/N: This story will take place after season seven of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and after "Revelation 6:8" in season five of Highlander. Richie will not be appearing in this story; he is probably off traveling. Wesley will be on loan from a slightly AU season five of Angel for a few chapters here and there.

* The Challenge *

A look of pure confusion made itself at home on Buffy's face. Did this guy just tell her to draw her sword? What sword? As Buffy was trying to comprehend the situation, Peter Wilson advanced slowly towards her, his sword raised.

Although she did not want to fight anyone at the moment, Buffy was not all that concerned. Her opponent did not look like much of an adversary. He was taller than her, but that's not saying much. Peter Wilson appeared to be five foot five or so with a stocky build. He seemed solidly built and muscular but Buffy knew this could be used to her advantage. Years of fighting had taught her that sometimes the more muscular a being was, the slower it was. Buffy was sure that she could move more quickly and outmaneuver this man, no problem.

With a look of irritation, he called out, "Well, are you going to draw your sword or not?"

"Not," replied Buffy honestly. "I don't have a sword. Who carries a sword around L.A.?"

"I don't believe you," he said back, suddenly unsure of himself. "We all carry swords."

"Yeah, as much as I am enjoying this little argument," said Buffy, "I have to ask: Where do you think I am hiding this supposed sword? I'm wearing jeans and a blouse—form-fitting ones at that. Unlike you, I am not wearing a long, creepy trench coat. Which, by the way, looks wicked conspicuous. It's like ninety degrees out."

"So, you don't have a sword?" asked Wilson, still trying to wrap his mind around this turn of events. In his bewilderment he began to lower his sword. Buffy merely answered his question with a look that clearly said "duh" even without words.

"I don't care," stated her opponent. And with that, he lunged at her, sword raised and ready to strike.

Buffy rolled gracefully to one side and with the momentum he had gathered to lunge, Wilson could not stop in time and ran into the side of a dumpster. He regained his composure though and rose to his feet. Buffy was standing about five feet away from him, smirking at his failure. Rather than becoming angry, Wilson just focused on acquiring his prize—her quickening. He began to move towards her again, this time more slowly, surveying his surroundings and taking note of his foe's possible escape routes. His confidence grew as he noticed that the girl's eyes never left him to assess her surroundings. She simply stood up straight, staring at him. He could tell that she was untrained in martial arts because her stance was unlike any he had ever seen from an experienced opponent before.

He was wrong.

What Wilson didn't know was that Buffy had already assessed every aspect of the alley and knew it better than the back of her hand. And, while her body was not positioned in any sort of formal fighting stance, beneath her skin, every single muscle was taut and ready. She knew she had been right when she assessed that he wouldn't be very quick and although she recognized his body's stance as that of an established martial arts form, she knew that he was not an expert. His feet were slightly too far apart, which would make him easy to knock down. His left elbow was raised too high, which would make it easy to knock his sword from his grasp.

"Aren't you going to tell me your name?" he asked the girl that he merely saw as a short bottle-blonde. "It is customary."

"I'm not going to tell you my name," replied a disbelieving Buffy. "I don't just give out my name to random psychos who challenge me to swordfights. … Not that this happens that often … well, actually, more often than you would think."

Mistaking her rambling for ditzy-ness, Wilson attacked again with a sadistic grin. This time Buffy was forced to fall back to avoid his sword. As he raised his sword again, Buffy kicked him in the stomach using just a hint of her slayer strength. Wilson fell back with a grunt of pain and Buffy hoped he would take the hint and just stay down but the force of her blow only encouraged him as he imagined how strong her quickening must be.

Getting up again, he charged Buffy. Their fight continued in the same manner for a number of minutes. He would get in close and try to strike Buffy with his sword and she would either block the attempt by hitting his arms or avoid the blade by skipping out the way. She would then hit him, usually knocking him to the ground. Then, he would get up again to get in close. Buffy could swear she had broken some of his bones but he didn't seem to be slowed down by it. In fact, he did not seem to be injured at all, despite the obvious cracking noises that had sounded as his bones had snapped.

"Who are you?" she demanded. "The Terminator?"

He pretended as if he hadn't even heard her and lunged again. Buffy batted him to the side again, praying for what seemed like the hundredth time that he would just remain on the ground. For what seemed like the hundredth time, her prayer went unanswered. As he moved to attack her again, she felt that pressure in her skull return. The seeming vibration and buzzing made Buffy want to throw up but instead she pushed it all to the back of her throbbing mind and forced herself to focus on the man attacking her.

It was then that she saw her chance. Whatever she was feeling, he was feeling it too and he was not as successful at staying focused. He had momentarily forgotten about her and was whipping his head around from side to side as if searching for something.

Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, Buffy kicked his wrist, sending his sword clanking to the ground. He turned back to her with a shocked expression on his face. Before he could focus on her again, he felt her fist smash into his face. His nose shattered, spraying blood onto his face and her hand. He lifted his hands up to his face, moaning. While his hands were occupied, Buffy reached down and grabbed his dropped sword. Kicking him in the leg, Buffy forced Wilson to his knees.

"Go ahead," he spluttered. "Take my head. You won."

Controlling her anger at the unprovoked attack, Buffy stepped back. "I don't kill humans," she said forcefully, quickly trying to push aside the images that invaded her mind of young girls lying murdered on the ground—girls she had sent into battle. No, she told herself, not girls, slayers, soldiers. Thinking the fight was finished, she turned to walk out the alleyway carrying her new sword, leaving behind the angry and bleeding man.

Just as she neared the alley's opening, a tall, good-looking man brushed past her. Turning quickly she saw the new man tackle Wilson, who had been standing alarmingly close to her with a dagger. The men grappled on the ground and Buffy just looked on, suddenly weary. She was tired of everything—fighting, protecting, defending, living. She realized how close she had just come to being killed. Back in Sunnydale, she never would have turned her back on an opponent like that, even if she thought she had won. In her emotional exhaustion, she was growing careless and it scared her.

Re-focusing on the men in front of her, Buffy was glad to see that the dark-haired man who had saved her life now had the dagger. The men were facing each other, each looking angry.

"You would dare attack a woman while her back was turned?" questioned Buffy's outraged rescuer with a slight accent that Buffy couldn't quite place. She couldn't tell if he was more offended by the sneak attack or by the gender difference.

"You shouldn't have interfered!" raged Wilson, whose nose had already healed. "It's against the rules!"

"As are sneak attacks," roared the pony-tailed man. "She is clearly new and knows nothing of our the Game or our ways. She wasn't even carrying a sword."

"That's not my problem," responded Wilson with a sneer. After further thought, he remarked, "But you are."

"Is that a challenge?" asked Buffy's rescuer.

"It is if the girl gives me back my sword," replied Wilson.

Both men turned to look at Buffy who gasped slightly. She had become so caught up in watching the two men argue, she had forgotten that she was an active member of the altercation as well, rather than just a curious and confused spectator. At a nod from her rescuer, Buffy tossed the sword to her former opponent.

Wilson caught the sword and turned back to the other man. "My name is Peter Wilson and I challenge you!" he said with anger in his voice and blood on his face.

Pulling a katana out from under the long, tan trench coat he wore, Buffy's rescuer responded, "I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and I accept you challenge."

* TBC *

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